One fringe summit event highlight was a CABE housing debate, on the motion 'This house does not believe that house-builders possess the skills necessary to build the quality of and quantity of new homes we require'. The highlight of this was a thoughtful speech by AHMM's Simon Allford.Cleverly, he started by appearing to defend the poor old builders, wondering why they were being attacked;
perhaps it was because they were too successful, and succeeded in dominating districts and planning authorities: 'I have worked in villages in England where I have been told that a dormer was part of the local vernacular when in fact the first one appeared in 1991.' But the real tenor of the argument soon emerged: that house-builder product is akin to the Lada or Trabant in the bad old days. Allford slammed the five great inventions from the volume boys: the 'link road'; the 'estate'; the 'forecourt'; the 'strip development'; and the 'en suite at all costs', provided within 'acoustically disastrous cramped boxes which demand that their occupants acquire new levels of tolerance for both families and neighbours'. A lively debate ended up with the motion being supported on a ratio of 6:1. Some measurements are useful.